The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

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The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby CampADK » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:43 pm

Going back into some archives, it appears that the first phase of a 'reservation system' was first introduced in 1975. Not sure if Fish Creek was part of the group of 3 campgrounds that where used to test the reservation system the previous year in 1974.

Interestingly back then you reserved through Ticketron and could only reserve for between 4 and 14 days. And we complain that we can't book 2 nights! 3 is certainly better than 4 for those just going for the weekend...

From the Schenectady Gazette May 9, 1975...

Image

Not sure when Reserve America came into play... will have to research that one.
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby Gail & Steve Collins » Sun May 09, 2010 9:42 am

The first years of the reservation system you could either reserve a campsite on the "north" or "south" sides of the ponds so you still went through that gut clenching terror of whether you would get a "good" site or not!

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The Old Park.net System

Postby CampADK » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:58 pm

I'm sure some of you remember the old Park.Net system that NY state implemented back in 1997 (prior to the current Reserve America system).

Park.Net apparently went online Mar 4, 1997 and allowed reserving campsites from two days to 90 days in advance. Does anybody have any more info, experience comments on Park.Net ?

EDIT: Apparently the old Park.Net system was simply renamed 'Reserve America' to broaden its image in April 1999. So if I am correct, the online reservation system for Fish Creek actually started in 1997, not the early 2000's.
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby kkirsch » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:14 am

I assumed Park.net was run by the state. You are correct on the 90 day reservation limit. Prior to that there were several itterations of getting a campsite after they stopped having people wait in line. For a while they put people in a bull pen (where that big parking lot is over in the picnic area). There were times that they did not even put people in the bull pen. So we would get there early in the morning before opening and park at the store, at the sand pit or on one of Hickocks parking areas. Then just before opening we would all race to get in line (CAMPERS START YOUR ENGINES). I believe just after they went to Reserve America which I think is based in California there was a 12 month reservation limit (make reservations for next year the day you use your current year reservations. PARK Net was good because it allowed camping on the number (if you had the right equipment) so call at one hour prior and then set your phone to camp on that number until it picked up. After they stopped park.net and before you could get reservations online making reservations from the office worked well with redial (4 phones dialing the same number and hitting redial until one got through). With reserve America there have been several changes in that. The worst was when they stopped the advanced view (where you can see when a site opens up) The only time you could see a site available was the day of the reservation.
Waiting in line though dangerous was always a fun time. We never met anything but friendly people in line, though it was probably rough on my parents.
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby CampADK » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:24 am

I heard (or read) somewhere Kevin, that campers would be fined if you were to close to the road. (ie 2 feet). Maybe that is how the 'holding pen' started?

Do you know when they abandoned parking on the road?

Another article talks about issues with campers eventually giving up and going off into the woods which was a problem.

It is interesting to read as well the issues with the lean-toos which were built, but eventually dismantled (lots of politics).
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby rv4life » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:13 pm

Check out this website: http://www.fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html. There is an acrive of all NYS papers dating back to 1800. There are Over 13,501,000 Old New York State Historical Newspaper Pages. If you search Fish Creek you will find many results. Also use the boolean search tool when you can't find things. It is hard to search for things because the site tries to scan text from old wrinkled pages. :D
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby kkirsch » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:19 am

There was a 4 year interval between 1974 and 1978 when the line on the road was stopped. That was the time I was in college and moved to Texas and did not camp at FC. (galveston Island camping, talk about hot!!!) Though lake Degray up by hot springs is not so bad. When I started again in 1978 the line had stopped and no parking signs were posted on the road. It was a potentially dangerous thing to do and I figured someone finally got hit, so they stopped it. There were a couple times we would be on the road for 2 days. I will try that link maybe there will be something there. There seemed to be a lot of changes that occurred during that time. Another change is that they use to have square dancing at the ampitheater.

On a side note, one thing I do remember is that next to Hickocks gas station were a bunch of vending machines that would dispense everything from ice cream to fishing lures. Those evaporated during that time as well.
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby CampADK » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:30 am

The best archives can be found at http://news.nnyln.net/

I have been spending a lot of time there, and have saved a ton of articles searching on different combinations of things. I'll be adding a lot of that research to the history section some time this fall.

Joe Paeglow is going to be providing some background as well which I am looking forward too.

Here is one for you Kevin...

Based on my research, it sounds like their was an amphitheatre 'building' or something different than what we currently have. This colorized postcard is a puzzle, as there is water in the background. Any info on this one?

Image
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby kkirsch » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:46 am

Woooo definitly before my time, will have to check with my dad. Wonder where that water comes from. I do remember the tower where the fiddler was for square dancing, but not an ampitheater that looked like that. The thing I was always interested in was what the place looked like before all the CCC pine trees were put in. You can see the CCC forest by going to the shower. You can still see that the big pines that appear to be in rows. I will have to take a look at that site. I am also curious when the platform sites dissappeared from Fishcreek. It probably occurred when then expanded the park all the way around but not certain. I do remember them being there so my guess is the late 50s. I need to remember to take those pictures of the original FC outhouses I found for anyone who pines for privys instead of flush toilets. Where ever you wander, where ever you roam there is no place like the outhouse right back of home (Berma Shave)
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby CampADK » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:13 pm

I believe the lean-toos were removed at the same time has dozens / hundreds of other lean-toos were removed after the debate over their usage occured and the state decided to destroy them all. Those were lean-toos right? not just flat platforms?

I have a few tid bits regarding the lean-too sage to post at some point. I have some many bits and pieces that I'm going to setup a historical spreadsheet which will include expansion notes, numbers of campers each year, cost, etc.

I've been meaning to talk to Carolyn Hickok too to see what she can remember, especially since I have a lot of photos and such on my iPad that I can show her. Getting off topic, but wanted to piece together how they ended up moving to the old boys camp where they are now. Not sure if it was something to do with the beach move, or they just wanted to expand since they didn't have much of a livery while at Fish Creek. I know that later on they sold boats, and even had a boat show at one time (believe I have the ad somewhere).

Where are the old privys? (not that I want to use one... yuck).
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby Gail & Steve Collins » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:29 pm

I believe that's a road behind the amphitheater not water. The boy's camp (La Jeunesse) who ran the "Stockade" went out of business in the 50's. I don't remember who ran it after that. I always thought Hickok's moved because they needed more room and perhaps because their lease with the state ran out. For a while the Stockade tried to compete with Donaldson's (now the Trading Post) by selling groceries, etc. but my mother always said the Stockade was too expensive.
:D

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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby CampADK » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:27 pm

Gail from what I have read/pieced together that is exactly it. The boy's camp shut down (I forget why) and Hickok's took over. It sounded like they wanted to expand, sell fuel, boats etc which they couldn't do at Fish Creek.

What is not clear to me is Hickok's relationship with Wray at the Stockade Trading Post. Hickok's were related to the Wray family (Gaylord J Wray was the son of Carolyn Hickok's sister Minnie who married Willard Wray). Back in 1959 for example the Stockade Trading Post offer water skiing and boat demonstrations. Ads and such mentioned 'Wray & Hickok', ie they had some business relationship. But the Stockade was in front of Donaldsons, and Hickok's was across the pond...

Gaylord J Wray was a charge officer at Dannemora State Prison and a partner in the Stockade Trading Post (Roger Hickok, Carolyns father was the partner). He died in 1968. Not sure who took over the Trading Post at that time... you probably know Gail. Hope I have all that right.

While mentioning The stockade, I noticed that they would rent out boats for the season and had a liquor license back in 1956. Now where did they have their boats? or were they over at Hickoks...sooo many questions lol.

Unfortunately I did some digging, pulled a ton of articles but haven't read thru it all very closely yet.
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby CampADK » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:42 pm

Le Jeunesse by the way was operating from 1914 until 1954. Bob Hickok worked at the camp and his mother was the camp cook.
When the camp folded in 1954, Bob moved the livery operations to the site where it exists today.
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby kkirsch » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:07 am

The old outhouses are over on Donaldson's property. There is one sitting behind the trailer park by the stone boat house. Not sure if it was converted.
A real interesting folk lore is George Donaldson. There are many stories on how he obtained the big swat of property he has (from the first cabin to the right of the store to the end of the narrows on Upper Saranac and everything in between). There was an article in Adirondack life about him, but even that story is speculative to some extent. There was a story that he was killed by a bear and his ghost still roams the property (good camp fire lore). From what I know he obtained the property from 3 lawyers he worked as a caretaker for. The trading post was added on to and that addition served as a motel, a diner and as winter living quarters for his family. We use to get ice out of the icehouse to the right of the trading post. They also use to rent boats and canoes at one time.

Mrs Hickock is such a nice person and always has been. Mr Hickock was a decent person to talk to as well but was a no nonsense person, but if you got past that he had a lot of interesting stories You should learn a lot talking to her though.

Those were platform camps that were removed. I would guess there were some lean to's as well but the main issue were the platform camps that were rented ?? out by the season. There was a lot of graft involved in obtaining one, which helped to
their dimise. You can see the remains of some out in Follensby on the far shore to the right as you come out of the tunnel of love. Most of them are now camping sites. I believe there are 3 lean-to sites that are still out there as well.

It would be great to add a timeline of Fishcreek will help with the newcommers for when they talk to old timers. It would also ruin many of the contrived stories that people like myself tell to others LOL :mrgreen:
I do remember the stockade store and yes it was expensive.
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Re: The Dreaded Reservation System - When did it Start?

Postby Gail & Steve Collins » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:35 pm

campadk wrote:Based on my research, it sounds like their was an amphitheatre 'building' or something different than what we currently have. This colorized postcard is a puzzle, as there is water in the background. Any info on this one?

Image


Dave and everyone else, one of the problems with the C.T. Teich colorized postcards is the high degree of inaccuracy of the coloring process. An artist at the postcard factory in Chicago did the actual colorizing based on notes from photographers in the field. Abbreviations got mixed up and such. Anyway, as Gail pointed out, the blue is actually the roadway in pretty much the same location as today. The semi-circular hill of the amphitheater was constructed by the CCC. The benches have changed as did their layout. The old campfires are gone, too.

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